Downward-Facing Dog Pose

Definition - What does Downward-Facing Dog Pose mean?

Downward-facing dog pose is a resting inversion pose that builds upper body strength and increases flexibility.

In this pose, the body forms an inverted “V” with the feet and hands pressing into the ground and the hips pushing to the sky. Beginners who lack the flexibility to perform the full pose may use yoga blocks or a folding chair to support their hands.

Downward-facing dog pose is also referred to by its Sanskrit name, adho mukha svanasana.

Yogapedia explains Downward-Facing Dog Pose

Downward-facing dog pose is typically one of the first poses beginners learn as it is part of the Sun Salutation, a series of poses often employed to warm up the body.

Some benefits of this pose include:

  • Strengthening of the bones and, thereby, prevention of osteoporosis.
  • Improved flexibility through the hips, back, arms and legs.
  • Strengthening of the wrists, arms, legs and shoulders.
  • Straightening and lengthening of the spine.
  • Relief of stress, insomnia and headaches by improved blood flow.

It is also believed to benefit anyone suffering from asthma, sciatica and high blood pressure. The inversion gets blood pumping and activates the lymph nodes. Despite its benefits, downward-facing dog pose should be avoided by anyone who suffers from carpal tunnel syndrome or who has a wrist, shoulder, arm or back problem.

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